Tilera and the race for the low power server

Tilera introduced its 9-core processor optimized for 64-bit processing this week. Tilera is at the heart of the multi-core efficient server market, and Rich Miller’s interview with CEO Devesh Garg indicates that the company is laser focused on marketing itself based on the performance per watt metric.

One interesting aspect of Tilera’s future involves Taiwan based Quanta Computer, which is an investor in Tilera. Quanta has long been rumored to be providing custom server builds for the likes of Google and Amazon, effectively allowing the webscale data center operators to bypass OEMS like Dell and HP. The reason folks like Google might be doing this is that they want to optimize power efficiency in server design and believe they can build a better server than any OEM can provide. (I’ve written about the market impacts of chronic R&D underinvestment by the OEMs.)

So it makes logical sense that Quanta would put money into Tilera. Tilera is a direct channel to those customers like Facebook that are most open to experimenting with low power servers running on non x86 architecture. Furthermore, if Tilera can really find its niche, then who knows, Quanta might have an awesome new partner to build low power servers for.

All in all, it’s beginning to feel like fewer and fewer people care about chip clock speed anymore. The game is about compute tasks per watt of power.